Whether you gained two pounds, 10 or 15 while you were away at school this year, it’s only natural that you’d want to get your health back on track now that summer’s on the way.
Of course, the real goal is to make sure those healthy habits will stick with you, through your next few semesters at school and, most importantly, life. Maintaining a healthy weight is essential to good health and longevity, so what you won’t want to make a habit out of is bouncing back and forth between gaining weight at school and frantically trying to shed it once summer comes around.
Instead, use these tips to set and achieve your current weight loss goal and then implement them into your daily routine when you get back to school so that you can stay fit and healthy for summer, the whole school year and beyond.
Take Your Workouts Up a Notch
If your workout routine at school consisted mainly of slowly trudging away on a cardio machine with your head buried in a book, then stepping up your workout intensity is exactly what you’ll need to help get your body back into tip-top shape. In fact, by taking it up a notch, you can burn more calories in less time and you’ll probably enhance your body’s fat-burning capabilities, too. One study from 2002 found that cyclists burned fat at the highest rate when exercising at a level equivalent to 74 percent of their maximum heart rate and another from 2004 that compared 30 minutes of running and cycling at three different intensities (55, 65, and 75 percent of VO2 max) found that the highest rate of fat burn occurred at 75 percent VO2 max.
Rethink Your Drinks
On campus it can be hard to resist all of the different beverage options available at food courts and dining halls, but you should consistently (when you’re at school and when you’re on break) make an effort to avoid them and opt for healthier choices like water and unsweetened teas. Sugary drinks like soda, juices and sweetened teas not only promote weight gain but are also likely detrimental to your overall health. Steer clear of calorie-free diet beverages with artificial sweeteners, too. Research continues to show that drinking diet soda is actually more likely to cause weight gain (and health issues like diabetes and heart disease) than drinking regular soda. Oh yeah, and since it promotes fat storage, slows your metabolism and adds extra calories to your intake, you’ll want to cut back on alcohol, too.